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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I'm trying to make the best of an existing family room for home theatre (but also multipurpose) use. Major reno would be nice but not in the cards at this time.

The original custom cabinetry was built into a wall which divides a long basement. The top half is shelving backed with mirrors. Below, it has 2 speaker cubbies (bad news already) on either side, ~ 20" w x 15" h, with cabinets underneath, and the centre included a cubby for an old 27" tv and shelves for stereo components with drawers underneath.

I've already opened up and removed the centre shelves to make room for a large screen tv and moved all the hifi and AV components below one speaker cubby.

Now for the questions:

I have new (to me) rear ported main LR speakers that fit nearly perfectly in the cubbies, albeit horizontally. For now I've experimented with plugging the port hole and filling the rear cabinet void with some loose fill to remove some of the flabby bass and reflections. Because of the cabinets below, and space limitations, bringing the speakers into the room on stands isn't practical.

Should I a) keep the port hole plugged and get some real absorptive material (i.e. foam or roxul) to fill the back of the built in speaker cabinet, OR b) cut out the back of the cabinet and the drywall on the other side and have the port hole firing through into the next room?

Next:

The centre channel, also rear-ported, is above the tv on the top shelving with a glass shelf above and mirror behind. It's essentially also in its own box, but with much more room to breath. I'm planning to cover the mirror at the back with absorptive material but should I also cover the underside of the glass shelf above or is the back wall the main concern?

Thanks a lot for any advice you can offer.
 

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Welcome to the HTS

In most cases plugging the port on a speaker is not a good idea unless it was designed to do so. Rear ported speakers are designed to be placed out in a room and need to breath. There really is no options to make them work in other placement position's plus turning a speaker on its side is not good either as this can cause combing issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As you can see definitely far from ideal! The subwoofer is new to the equation, so I may switch back to using Paradigm Atom's as opposed to the 3se's that I have horizontal. but they're still rear ported. I don't have room (or budget) for floor standing and front ported bookshelf monitors seem to be few and far between.

That's why I think removing the rear of the built-in might be the best compromise.

The only saving grace right now is that the built ins keep the tweeters at an ideal height.

Also, the port's are just loosely plugged, so I'm not too concerned about damage, and the response curve would already be screwed up in the cabinet. It's really just experimentation, not something permanent. I might go to the dollar store and try the ol 'plug the port with drinking straws' trick

Thanks for the input
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi AJ,

Paradigm Atoms (v2) have been the main speakers until recently when I found a set of Paradigm 3se 's which fit in the cubbyhole horizontally. They have better bass extension but in the cabinet that means more bass problems as well.

FYI The cubbyholes are 12" h x 20" w x 21" d, they're 32" off the ground, 54" apart, and ~8' from listening position.

I'm leaning towards the removing the back of the cabinet/wall solution myself, since I believe the issue is basically cabinet-boundary (i.e. room-boundary) related and removing a boundary has to help.

But perhaps you have another take.

It still won't be ideal, but if I had the money for new ideal speakers I'd probably have money for more drastic renovations and I could start from scratch. Both those options are a ways away.

Thanks for taking the time
 

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If you really wanted to expend some elbow grease and not a lot of $$ plus get the best out of what you have, I was going to suggest actually building a baffle and converting the cubby into the speaker enclosure itself (closed box). I.e., removing the drivers and XO from the existing Paradigm cabinet and installing them in the baffle, but vertically aligned, like they are in the cabinet. But it doesn't look like you have enough height, if that's a 8>" woofer and 4" tweeter(?).
Some serious DIY.

cheers
 
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